…That is what Mr. Jen calls the show, by the way.
So, I have this problem with things that are bad. I can’t not look at them. In fact, the worst thing someone can tell me is, “Don’t watch that movie, it’s terrible,” or “don’t watch this youtube video of a guy popping a giant cyst on his ear, it’s gross.” (If you want to see that video, happy watching and bring a barf bag). If I’m reading a series of books, and it starts to tank, I will continue to read, because I can’t look away. Hell, I sometimes buy books that just LOOK bad, because of the evil voice in my head that insists my eyes need to be punished. And, as if you needed more proof that I’m criminally insane, I’m excited about the two-hour season premier of House tonight, because let’s be honest, this season is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
So, in that spirit of “This can’t be that bad guys OMFGWTF YES IT IS!” I watched the second episode of The Vampire Diaries on the CW.
Now, I have explained before how very much I loved these books as a tender young pre-teen. Imagine something that you loved, very much, and look back on fondly, with much nostalgia. Really, really imagine it. Now, imagine that thing, that doll or blanket or grandparent, being run over and over and over with a two-ton truck with a CW logo on the side, while a Gossip Girl commercial interrupts every five to eight minutes. This is what I experienced watching episode two of We Took The Title “The Vampire Diaries” and Some Of The Character Names and Then Just Did Whatever The Fuck We Wanted To.
Our story began, Thursday last, with a couple of crazy young “kids” of about thirty-years-old trying to pass for teens while they grope each other in a tent in the woods. The girl mentions that they’re going to “miss the comet,” if they don’t stop their sweaty wrestling around. The fact that they’re in a tent in a forest, both conditions completely negating any chance of a clear view of the night sky, isn’t brought up. Eventually (predictably) there is some scary noise or something, and the boyfriend goes out to investigate. When he doesn’t answer his girlfriend’s frantic shouting of his name, she goes out to investigate. I probably don’t have to tell you that what follows involves a dead body hanging from a tree, a car that is locked, and screaming, followed directly by the title screen.
Back from the credits, Elena and Stefan are both writing in their journals. We hear this in voice overs that sound like they’re from a prescription antidepressant commercial. Elena finds her Aunt Jenna in the bathroom, trying out various looks to impress Jeremy’s teacher, Mr. Tanner. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to show Mr. Tanner what a very serious single-mom she is, or if she was trying to get a date. Either way, neither work out, as you will see later. Partly because Aunt Jenna will believe anything Jeremy tells her and has absolutely no idea what is going on in the lives of her teen charges: she tells Elena that Jeremy had to leave early for wood shop, to which Elena responds that the school doesn’t have a wood shop class.
Somehow, it’s brought up that the comet will be visible “tomorrow” night. Meaning, those amateur astronomers died in vain. It’s okay, they would have missed the comet, anyway, because they’re terrible at picking spots with a clear view of the sky.
In Mr. Tanner’s class (because the CW can’t shell out to show any other classroom or teacher), Stefan and Elena throw each other longing looks, and later walk through the halls, bonding over Wuthering Heights. Because comparisons to Twilight aren’t flying thick and fast already, they needed a scene of a pale, brunette girl being romanced by a vampire over a copy of Wuthering Heights. O RLY?
Jeremy and Tyler fight with each other over the fact that, while Jeremy has been dutifully visiting Vicki in the hospital, Tyler is the one who gets to nail her, and that is just not fair, cry cry, deal drugs. Matt informs Elena that Vicki doesn’t really remember what happened, but he imparts this information in a halting, spooked-out kind of way, so that when it is revealed that Vicki has been bitten by a vampire, there will be a lot of forehead slapping going on in Mystic Falls.
Back at Aunt Jenna trying to pretend to be a grown up, she meets with Mr. Tanner. After some painfully clunky exposition, during which Mr. Tanner addresses Jenna as “Miss Summers” (O RLY?), Jenna says that she thinks she’s doing a pretty good job with the kids, you know, aside from not realizing that her nephew is whacked out on prescription drugs and totally not in woodshop. Mr. Tanner tells her that Jeremy has missed class six times, and Jenna is totally surprised; I was, too, because the first episode covered three days of school, maybe, and Vicki is still in the hospital. I guess they don’t have weekends in Mystic Falls. Jenna, who has been paying better attention to the chronology of the show, tells Mr. Tanner that it’s impossible that Jeremy has missed so many classes, and he responds, “Not if he’s on drugs.” He continues to berate her for her bad momming skills and tells her that someone else should be the kids’ guardian.
At the hospital, Vicki Bennet has a true-to-book freak out, but in her room, instead of the school cafeteria. Something is horribly wrong with her memory of that night, and now her head is all messed up. This is due to Stefan messing with her head; he’s tried to make her think it was an animal, not a vampire, who attacked her. Matt sees Stefan leaving from the general direction of his sister’s room and immediately thinks there’s something funny going on. Not because of any proof, but just because Matt has the permanent willies, I guess. He follows Stefan into the dialysis ward, where he loses track of him, finding only an open, second-story window. Wide open, with no screen on it, in a hospital. He finds this a bit odd. You know, like you would.
Bonnie, Caroline, still no Meredith, and Elena are hanging out after school when Caroline, in an attempt by the writers of the show to establish her as the morally bankrupt slut of the group (YAY FEMINISM!), tells Elena she should just sleep with Stefan already. Elena seems to be ready to take this advice, because she hops right up from the table they’re eating at and takes off.
At home, Aunt Jenna has an awkward, “back when I was cool” talk to Jeremy about the drugs he’s on. She goes on to remind him that while drugs might solve their totally hellish, upper-middle class white people problems, once they endanger your education, that’s not cool. Jeremy doesn’t really get the end of her, “Lean on me, because I’ve been there, broseph,” speech, because he totally bails while she’s raiding the fridge, presumably to do a little stress eating.
Where does Jeremy go? To the hospital, where Matt seems super psyched that his crazy freak-out sister is coming home. When Jeremy shows up, he and Vicki have the bajillionth conversation about the fact that Tyler doesn’t care about her, but this time, Vicki seems to actually care. One could point out that Jeremy is pretty selfish, too, what with bringing their non-relationship problems up while she’s still recovering from a vampire bite that’s made her go crazy.
Elena drives over to Stefan’s house, only to be brutally cock-blocked by Damon and his giant bird. He doesn’t seem to mind that Elena has basically illegally entered the house, but he does awkwardly start talking about his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Katherine, and how Stefan isn’t over her. But at least he doesn’t rip her apart and throw her into a tree. When Stefan shows up, it’s to be all brooding and Angel-esque– his forehead even appears to be getting bigger– and basically blows Elena off. Right there, she should know he’s a vampire. What teenage boy is going to be like, “No, hot girl who just came by to hump me. I’d rather sit in the shadows and look pained.” Sure sign of a vampire there, my friend.
When Elena leaves, Damon and Stefan engage in some more clunky exposition, which I am beginning to think will be a hallmark of this show, and it is revealed that because Stefan doesn’t feed from humans, his powers are weak and he totally botched his roll on hypnotizing Vicki. Stefan asks Damon why he’s doing what he’s doing, but Damon, being the only character true to book, just gives some lame answer that boils down to, “I’m chaotic evil, dude, check my stats.”
Back at the Gilbert/Summers residence, Aunt Jenna and Elena compete in the bad date Olympics. AJ medals in every event. Jeremy comes home just in time to remind Jenna that, even though she is the youngest-looking actor on the show, she is so old she probably rode a dinosaur down to the Circle K to score her drugs, and she doesn’t know his problems.
Back at the hospital, Vicki is still suffering from an improper memory wipe, and apparently, Mystic Falls is big on comets, because everyone is gathered in the middle of town to watch it. Elena tells Bonnie and Caroline that Stefan never called, so, good advice there, Caroline. Caroline doesn’t really care, though, because she sees Damon there, staring at some kids. The warning bells associated with seeing a grown man giving a line of kids the sexy-eyed once over do not go off in Caroline’s head, and she decides he’s one fine piece, while at Castle Dracula, Stefan’s nephew warns him that Damon’s presence puts them all at risk.
While showing up to argue with her boss over the schedule– she just got attacked by a vampire, dick!– Vicki takes the time to score some drugs and reject Jeremy once she’s got them. Stay classy, Vicki.
The organizers of the comet-watching event have made sure there is plenty of light pollution, so the chances of seeing the very comet they’ve come out to see are greatly reduced, but at least it’s bright enough for us to see Matt get totally shut out by Stefan, who impresses Elena with a bunch of bullshit comet facts. Elena seems pretty dazzled, to borrow a phrase from Twilight, at first, but then gets all huffy because in the one conversation she has ever had with Stefan, he didn’t mention that he had a brother. She goes on to compare losing her parents to him breaking up with his girlfriend (and yeah, she’s totally dead, but Elena doesn’t know that), showing us that Elena has either never broken up with anyone or was pretty lukewarm on her parents. Elena basically tells Stefan, “It’s not you, it’s me, and also it’s you, and also the timing is bad.”
In the bar where minors are allowed to hang out, Vicki runs into Damon. She’s pretty sure she recognizes him, so she takes a handful of pills. Because when your memory is all fucked up, six or seven Oxycotin are exactly what you need to stay sharp and clear-headed. Just when she thinks she’s in the clear, Damon totally shows up, looking all evil.
Conveniently, all the supporting teen characters, even the ones who don’t really hang out together, are all sitting at the same table in the bar when Jeremy realizes that Vicki is missing. Before anyone goes off to look for her, Tyler calls Jeremy a drug dealer, Elena is all, “OMG, you’re a drug dealer?” and Jeremy is all, “FYI, I’ve been totally banging Vicki for weeks now.” Jeremy tells Elena that he’s “sick of the tough love speech,” and I sympathize with him, and it’s only the second episode.
While looking for Vicki, Matt finds Stefan and asks why he was at the hospital. Stefan should have probably just said, “Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch.” but he doesn’t, he just says he was visiting someone. Even though his recently released from the hospital, prone to hallucination, drug addicted sister is missing, he takes the time to assert his ownership of Elena, because, like the writers of the show, he skipped Feminism 101. Stefan immediately knows that something Damon-related is up, and he uses his spider senses to hear Vicki screaming her head off. Damon is dangling her off the side of a building, and for some reason none of the people who are supposedly staring upward at the comet notice. Stefan tries to get Damon to stop torturing Vicki, but Stefan doesn’t know Damon that well, apparently. Damon hynotizes Vicki into saying that she was attacked by Stefan, and Stefan, not having the same powers that Damon has, has to resort to a very Lestat/Louis moment of, “Eat people,” and “Never!” There is a veiled reference to vampires having been in Mystic Falls before, and then Damon reverses his whammy and takes off. Vicki tells everyone that Stefan found her on the roof, but since we don’t get to hear what Damon whispered in her ear, that will probably come into play later. Or, maybe they’ll never reveal it, like the end of Lost in Translation. Because Stefan found his sister, Matt grudgingly admits he might be an okay guy.
With things back to normal, Caroline announces that drug users are attention whores, and Bonnie has a psychic moment with Stefan. So, if you’re keeping score at home, Bonnie and Matt both have uneasy feelings about Stefan.
While Jeremy is out, presumably dealing drugs, Aunt Jenna ransacks his room while unloading on Elena about how hard it is to take care of her and her brother. Hey Jenna, you know what’s harder than trying to raise your sister’s kids after she dies? Having your parents die in a horrible accident that you somehow miraculously survive. Or, breaking up with your girlfriend, if we’re using Elena’s empathy scale. She gives Elena some advice about how she shouldn’t let opportunities pass her by, or at least, I’m guessing that’s what happened, because I had to pee.
Anyway, when I came back, Jeremy catches Vicki up to her old shenanigans with Tyler, and he’s surprised for some reason, even though she’s flip-flopped between the two of them once already in this episode. Caroline, in a scene out of every vampire movie, ever, walks to her car, but has a creep feeling. Once at the door, she drops her keys, bends to retrieve them, and SURPRISE the vampire is standing right next to her! The vampire in question is Damon, who, having probably seen this scene in every vampire movie, ever, tells her, “I didn’t mean to scare you.” Yet. Bwahahahahaha.
Reflecting on the wisdom of Aunt Jenna’s advice, Elena drives over to Stefan’s house to tell him that they haven’t looked at the bad CGI comet enough. As the music of the loudest crickets ever nearly drowns out even more clunky exposition about Elena’s diary and its exact location in her house, Sarah Barilles music swells in the background and Elena and Stefan kiss, ending the bulk of the episode.
Caroline and Damon are doing a whole lot more than kissing, and Damon chooses to ruin perfectly hot, non-angsty vampire-on-teen action by biting her. And that, my friends, is the hook, fade to black, time for Supernatural.